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Port of Manchester awards demolition contract

The Port of Manchester commissioners have decided who will handle the demolition work necessary to begin expanding the port’s parking lot.

Now it remains to be seen when the project will commence, although expectations are it will be soon.

The commissioners on Monday awarded an $11,000 contract to Port Orchard-based Sound Construction to demolish the single-family home located on a quarter-acre property adjacent to the Manchester Library and the port’s existing parking lot.

The port purchased the parcel in March for $650,000, using a Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office grant to pay for 75 percent of the project while rolling over some expiring bonds to fund the remainder.

The lot is being expanded to add around 15 more boat-trailer spaces, effectively doubling its capacity.

“Phase 1 of the project involves demolishing the building, then doing the site preparation and grading,” said Port of Manchester Commission President Jim Strode. “Phase 2 is the actual paving and construction.”

Strode said demolition would begin as soon as the port obtains a permit from the county.

“They operate at their own pace,” he said, “but in this case I wouldn’t expect it to take too long. Probably next week, but possibly as soon as this week if everything goes well.”

The process can be fast-tracked because there is no asbestos or lead in the structure, explained Alan Fletcher, the port’s contract administrator.

“You never no what you’ll find in some of these old buildings,” he said. “But the contractors have gone through it and concluded no abatement was necessary.”

Fletcher estimated it could have added as much as $20,000 to the project if asbestos or lead had been found.

In all, the parking lot project is expected to cost between $500,000 and $600,000, of which the port would only pay around $100,000.

The parking lot expansion project coincides with the port’s decision in April to begin charging $5 per boat launch.

Historically, the port relied exclusively on property taxes for revenue, collecting about $95,000 a year. However, Fletcher said operations and maintenance expenses and the cost of construction projects kept rising.

“By charging a nominal fee and expanding our facilities to accommodate more boat trailers,” he said, “we’re hoping to generate enough revenue that we won’t have to rely so heavily on property taxes.”

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